| Graham Ford
June 10: The mood among most Team India players is to wait and watch. However, if the seniors have even the slightest apprehension, they needn’t worry.
For one, coach-designate Graham Ford is in the know that they’ve backed him. Then, during his presentation in Chennai late last evening, he told the special committee that he was “aware” of the team’s make-up and “confident” of getting the best out of the seniors.
According to The Telegraph’s sources, both during the presentation and the interview which followed, the South African was a picture of “supreme confidence”.
“His wasn’t a Power Point presentation, like John Emburey’s, but very high on confidence.... He didn’t forget to remind the members that he’d successfully handled the biggest names in the South African team between 1999 and 2002,” one source said.
It couldn’t be confirmed whether the circumstances of his removal by the South African board, soon after the 2001-02 tour of Australia, came up during the interview.
Emburey’s presentation was pretty adequate, too, but he’d never really been a strong candidate. Despite Sunil Gavaskar’s support, not having coached a national team weakened his CV.
The Englishman, by the way, took his rejection sportingly.
“I couldn’t make out who telephoned, but somebody did to convey I’d not been selected.... I was disappointed, but that’s the way it is.... I return to Lord’s (headquarters of Middlesex), while Graham prepares for a new role.... He’s a good coach and I wish him well.”
Speaking around 5 am at the Taj Connemara in Chennai, before setting out (with Ford, incidentally) to board a British Airways flight for London, Emburey added: “I was given the opportunity to present my case.... The process was transparent and fair.... It wasn’t as daunting as I’d thought it would be....”
As expected, most of the questions were fired by the three former captains — Srinivas Venkatraghavan, Gavaskar and Ravi Shastri (whose stock is currently sky high).
In fact, the Board of Control for Cricket in India president, Sharad Pawar (who chaired the meeting), had decided that “technical matters” would almost exclusively be handled by the trio.
For Emburey, the silver lining is that last evening’s experience would “come in handy” when he looked at “options” at some point in the future. “With both daughters now grown up, there's no compulsion to stay in England,” he pointed out.
It’s unclear just how soon Kent will release Ford — the county is hoping to hold him back — but it’s confirmed that he won’t have any role in Tuesday’s selection meeting for the ODIs in Ireland-Scotland and the Test series in England.
“In any case, Ford would hardly have been in any position to contribute,” remarked chief administrative officer Ratnakar Shetty.
Interestingly, Ford’s financial package wasn’t decided last evening. He has communicated what he “expects” to treasurer N. Srinivasan, who is going to get back with an answer.
Greg Chappell received around $ 20,000 per month and it’s unlikely that Ford, whose contract with Kent is till September 2008, will settle for anything less.
Media-shy, he declined to comment (“At this stage I can’t”) before heading for the airport in Emburey’s company. They’d arrived together as well.